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Old 10-28-2014, 10:53 PM   #1
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Norcold refrigerator not cooling

Unit was working fine one minute and not cooling the next. It gets power and the compressor hums on both DC and AC current? Suggestions please! Thx
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by traderjohn View Post
Unit was working fine one minute and not cooling the next. It gets power and the compressor hums on both DC and AC current? Suggestions please! Thx
Based on what you are seeing and since you can hear the compressor humming, then it's most likely a compressor failure. If this is an older unit, then it's probably toast. I haven't heard of anyone having one of these older units repaired.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:14 AM   #3
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Ours is starting to make odd sounds. Does it really have to be replaced by a ( marine unit) for a $1,000. or can a standard small home fridge work.?
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:32 AM   #4
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I know a number of people who have used a household fridge. But you lose the AC/DC convenience of a marine fridge. If you have a generator, you can power it while away from the dock or you can add more batteries and an inverter and try to power it that way. I wouldn't, but some people do and get by with it.
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:52 AM   #5
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The PO on my boat let an AC&R guy just replace the compressor on the old fridge in thi boat...cost plus labor he said was about $700 vs $1200 for the new fridge.
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Old 10-29-2014, 08:36 AM   #6
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Are the coils frosting over on the back and bottom of the freezer? Mine was frosting over only about 20% of the area and the the compressor was working hard and still not cooling very well. A local guy suggested installing a service port and recharging the freon, which he did. I guess Norcolds were never meant to be serviced. It's worked great since early August and the food in the freezer is rock hard!
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Old 10-29-2014, 08:45 AM   #7
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Check for dust/dog hair/dirt between the cooling fan in front of the fins at the compressor. Air has to get through. You might get lucky.
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Old 10-29-2014, 09:29 AM   #8
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I have a Norcold and it has been trouble free. When docked it runs on shore power. When cruising it runs off the engine alternators. When anchored it makes the generator significant. The only thing I have done is remove the drain tray below the freezer because there was some difficulty keeping the lowest part of the fridge cool enough. I wanted to put a circulating fan inside the fridge but in the scheme of things Norcold changes the incoming AC and DC voltages to an unusual voltage I never pinned down and well never added the fan.
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Old 10-29-2014, 01:20 PM   #9
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If it is a Danfoss compressor, it could be the control unit. Ours went out last year. You would hear the compressor try to start but it wouldn't get cold. New control for around $200 and everything is fine. A friend had similar symptoms this year. The yard wanted to install a new compressor. He pulled the Danfoss troubleshooting info off the web. You wire up a test light to certain terminals on the control unit and it will flash a code. Turned out to be the cooling fan behind the unit. New computer fan for around $10 and he was back in buisness. The yard quoted him close to a grand!
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:36 PM   #10
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Have had several Norcold units over the years. They are fine while they last but that does not seem to be very long -- we call them NoColds. If you replace unit would suggest you take a look at Vitrifrigo which is what we went to about 3 years ago. Works great except for -- like most refrigerators aboard I think -- needing to defrost freezer about twice a week.
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:36 PM   #11
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If you still want to add a fan it can be done. The Norcolds use 20VAC/60Hz produced with a built in inverter , a multitap transformer and relay to switch between the 12VDC and 120VAC supplies., ensuring neither is on at the same time and to use the appropriate transformer taps.

If you search back on my name a [few] years, I posted a schematic I made to take the motor voltage [20VAC] and produce 12.8VDC of about 500mA to drive a 12VDC muffin/computer fan. It worked well for many years [15-20] untill we finally decided to change the fridge, partly for the Danfoss unit and also to get a larger unit.
Other wise i suspect we would still have that old Norcold.

One thing you might try is purchase a muffin type fan ,4", that will operate on 24VAC. It will run slower than if it got 24VAC but should still do the job.

Find the motor power leads and solder a pair of wires to those leads to run the fan. Use a fuse just in case.

I will repeat here, use only one fan and will be dead quiet. You will barely hear it.
DO NOT use Two smaller ones as they will most likely make a lot of noise.

Taking the fan power from the motor leads means the fan will run ONLY when the motor runs. The little extra load is small enough the unit never noticed.

Upon reread I realize you wanted the fan for fridge interior air circulation. i used mine to remove the rejected heat from the cooling coil to outside of the cabinet. If you only want the interier circ. fan then a 2 or 3" would do the job.

If the cabinet does not now have a fan to remove the fridges reject heat then consider a 4" fan also to evacuate the cabinet. If the fridge cannot get rid of the heat because it is trapped in the cabinet then it cannot cool effectively, running longer and more often. I substantially improved the fridge's performance by evacuating the cabinet.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:04 PM   #12
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The difference between marine/RV and home fridges is in the thickness of the insulation , and weather heating coils/strips are used to dry the insulation.

House folks want HUGE inside and tiny outside , so the insulation is very thin , there fore the need to heat it to dry it out. Not at ALL efficient .

The RV marine units may be dual voltage.

Folks have disconnected the heating elements in house fridges and glued on thick 2+ inches of insulation , but the best is still the RV /marine units that vent out the front into the cabin.
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